The Best of Patheos Pagan 2016

How does one judge “the best?” On the average day at Patheos Pagan we share about six articles-sometimes more and sometimes less. That adds up to over 1,000 new articles a year! That’s a lot of writing! And it makes putting a “best of” list together almost impossible.

So instead of just picking my favorites I looked at analytics and asked our writers what their favorites were too. Right now we have over 40 blogs at Patheos Pagan and about seventy writers (and I’m always looking for more!). Featuring an article from every blog here would be almost impossible so I limited this list to blogs that shared new content at least once a month.

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Adulting is an Indictment on Society, Not Millennials by John Beckett at Under the Ancient Oaks

This is actually the most read post in the history of Patheos Pagan and as of today has been shared over 200,000 times on social media. That’s a Pagan record! And it shouldn’t really be a surprise. John Beckett is one of the best writers in the Pagan world today. I was a fan before I met him, and after meeting him became an even bigger one. But while this was John’s most read post, I think his personal favorite (and that of many of our writers) was The Otherworld is Bleeding Through.

A Power Sigil For Our Times by Laura Tempest Zakroff at A Modern Traditional Witch

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in life, and even more at Patheos Pagan, but brining in Tempest was not one of those. Within just a few months of being here she’s become one of our most popular writers. She’s also awesome and I’ll totally confess that my wife and I’s ritual room is filled with her artwork. While Power Sigil was Tempest’s most read piece this year her article The Dangers of Witchcraft was a personal favorite.

I’m a Spy For the Mormon Church by John Halstead at The Allergic Pagan

I think there were some people who took this post seriously. John rattles a lot of cages but I think he’s an extremely important voice in the Pagan world. We aren’t all polytheists; Paganism is a very big tent and John is a constant reminder of that. Nearly as popular was John’s Gods Save Us From Bad Pagan Rituals article which led to a lot of discussion (and some disagreement) on how and when to hold a ritual.

10 Vital Voodoo Supplies You Can’t Live Without by Lilith Dorsey at Voodoo Universe

Lilith Dorsey is a treasure and Voodoo Universe is one of the best Pagan blogs in the entire universe. I think Lilith does a wonderful job of bridging the gap that often seems to exist between Afro-Carribean Paganisms and their European cousins. She also shares a lot of practical information, such as Nine Absolute Must Have Herbs For Your Magick.

When Did Witchcraft Become a Contest by Jason Mankey at Raise the Horns

We all know Mankey is a hack, but sometimes he’s got his heart in the right place, and this was one of those moments. Instead of arguing about whose Witchcraft is older and better, why don’t we celebrate what we have in common with each other? The “witchier than thou” arguments don’t help anybody. 2016 was a big year for my favorite hack writer at Patheos, and Jason released his first book for Llewellyn this past January and will be celebrating with a subversive and drunken Christmas. (I just wanted to work that in since it was my favorite article this year.)

I am a Pagan, Let the Rant Begin by Gwion Raven at The Witches Next Door

Phoenix and Gwion are not just two of my favorite writers at Patheos, they are also two of my favorite people in the entire world. Gwion is one of the most proud and out Witches I’ve ever met and he and Phoenix’s practice infuses every bit of their lives. They aren’t just Witches who talk the talk, they walk the walk (and ride the broomsticks). In addition to some of the most emotional pieces presented this year at Patheos, Phoenix and Gwion also have a great sense of humor, case in point 13 Reasons It’s Cool to be a Witch.

How to Be an Elder by Yvonne Abburow at Dowsing For Divinity

I think our Yvonne Aburrow is one of the greatest writers and nicest people on the entire planet so I just had to sneak her onto this list. Also anyone who writes an article with the words ” If you think you are one, you probably aren’t” in relation to being an elder sort of has to be on this list. Yvonne is also one of the internet’s strongest voices when it comes to Wiccans being polytheists, not to mention her work at creating a more inclusive Wicca.

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SEASONAL POSTS

Year in and year out some of the most read things at Patheos Pagan relate to sabbats and the turning of the seasons. 2016 was no exception and featured a whole slew of fascinating holiday related posts.

A Yule Story by Erica Baron at Nature’s Path.

If I’m not mistaken this is the most read article in the history of Nature’s Path, our UU Centered Pagan blog. This particular Yule story is a retelling of the Oak King/Holly King tale and it packs an emotional punch. Nature’s Path is one of our most diverse blogs and features a little bit of something for everyone. My favorite series of articles at Nature’s Path this year were seasonal too, but were about the creepy clown epidemic that swept America this last Halloween.

The Morrigan & Samhain by Morgan Daimler at Irish-American Witchcraft.

Morgan is probably one of our eight most popular bloggers. Nearly everything she does for Patheos goes instantaneously viral and appeals to a large cross-section of Modern Paganism. I’ve been begging for over a year to get her full-time blog over here but alas, it’s never happened. Morgan isn’t just popular with readers, she’s also popular with the other writers here, John Beckett’s favorite article this year was Morgan’s Wild Witchcraft.

The Bad Faeries of Litha by Danette Wilson at Outside the Circle.

I don’t think I’ve ever run into anyone more excited to write at Patheos than Danette Wilson. Her enthusiasm is impossible not to notice, and I’ve enjoyed her explorations into what’s hiding just beyond the shadows of our circles at the sabbats. I am a little surprised that her other solstice article wasn’t the more popular one, to me it’s Yuletide that features the most fascinating bad faeries.

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NEW WRITERS AT PATHEOS PAGAN

We launched a reasonable number of new blogs this year and some of them have just been tremendous. Our hardest working new blogger (and first voice from the Southern Hemisphere) has been Bekah Evie Bel at Hearth Witch Down Under. With her 30 Days of Hekate she managed to do something no one has ever done at Patheos Pagan, write for 30 consecutive days. While Bekah’s Hekate posts were among her most read, The Gods Aren’t Always Nice was a favorite of Morgan Daimler.

The one new blogger I got to personally meet this year was the amazing Megan Manson at Pagan Tama. While Megan’s blog is primarily about her journey as a Shinto-Pagan her baking articles were among the most read things of the year here. Until last week Salt Dough Magic was her top piece, but I think that’s been supplanted by Divination Rune Cookies for Yule. If baking is not your thing, her book reviews are an altogether different kind of treat. Not surprisingly I’m partial to her September reviews.

Other New Blogs this Year at Patheos Pagan

This “best of” article is getting mighty long so just a quick shoutout to our other new blogs this year.

Beneath the Moon by Rachel Patterson
The Poisoner’s Apothecary by Coby Michael Smith
By Athame and Stang by Kelden
Dandelionlady by Melissa Hill

Lots of great stuff on all of these blogs, I’m just getting pressed for time and space!

No writer here introduced me to more new ideas and ways of looking at the world this year than Pat Mosley at Common Tansy. Pat’s forays into a Witchcraft that acknowledges the Devil left me spellbound, and resulted in over 400 comments. But it was Pat’s interview series entitled Feminism, Gender, and Paganism that had the most lessons for me. Every interview he did was powerful, and needed.

Heron Michelle is not a new writer, and neither is Laine Delaney, but this year they both “graduated” from Agora to their own personal blogs. Laine’s The Lady’s Quill has been all I hoped it would be, and Heron’s Witch on Fire not only featured some of the best recipes on the net it’s a reminder that Paganism is alive and well in the Bible Belt. As for favorite’s I’ll take Laine’s Dark Gods for Dark Times and Heron’s Four Rules of Witchcraft for Personal Sovereignty as my favorites of the year.

I had lots of other favorites this year, but time is short and some of my favorite Patheos scribes didn’t meet my “one post a month” criteria to make this list.

From all of us here at Patheos Pagan, we hope you have a blessed and wonderful 2017. Keep reading and we’ll keep writing!

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